The "Ghostbusters" theme song is scary enough, but
to hear it through speakers connected to an empty CD
player " now that's just creepy. It's one of the
unexplainable events that brought a couple of
paranormal investigators to the
Skatin' Place for a little research. The roller rink
is one of the ghost lore-filled places featured in
"Minnesota Road Guide to Haunted Locations," which
came out earlier this month.
"Skating rinks are weird on their own," said Chad
Lewis, a paranormal expert and author who researched
Skatin' Place. "But then you throw in all these
Lewis and his co-author/paranormal expert Terry
Fisk, who live in Wisconsin, gathered stories from
Skatin' Place employees and customers, who said they
had seen video games and lights turn on and off by
themselves, heard doors slamming when no one was
around, heard footsteps on the roof and strange
crackling noises. One skater saw a face in a vent,
but when employees checked, there was nothing there.
"There's been strange things happening with the
lights and people running across the ceiling," said
Jon Jackson, who has owned the
Skatin' Place since 1985.
The ghost lore surrounding the rink involves a young
boy, "Gilbert," who supposedly drowned in swamps the
Skatin' Place was later built over.
Whenever something strange happens at the rink,
Jackson and employees joke that Gilbert must have
been up to something.
The researchers said they couldn't find anything to
verify that a boy drowned on the property. But that
doesn't concern Lewis, 31, who has traveled around
the world researching paranormal events but never
had a paranormal experience of his own.
"It's frustrating," Lewis said. Yet lack of
paranormal proof hasn't convinced him that ghosts,
aliens and other unexplainable things don't exist.
"For (people who've seen the paranormal) it's a
reality," said Lewis, who has a master's degree in
applied psychology and works as a grant writer for
his "real job."
Lewis and Fisk try not to pass judgment or jump to
conclusions. Instead they research events, trying to
gather stories, video footage and other evidence.
During the year they spent researching
Minnesota haunts, the duo came up with enough
material to fill three or four books, Lewis said.
They chose locations that were open to the public
and had recent activity.
Lewis said people often open up when they hear about
his paranormal investigations.
"Normally the reaction is 'Wow! Let me tell you the
story I have,' "Lewis said. "People always believe
nobody has had the experience they've had."
According to local legend, ghosts have frequented
D.B. Searle's, 18 Fifth Ave. S.
Pioneer Place on Fifth, 22 Fifth Ave.
St. Cloud Times, 3000 Seventh St. N.
St. Cloud State University: James W. Miller
Learning Resource Center, Lawrence Hall,
Shoemaker Hall and North Shoemaker Hall.
For a complete list of haunted locations in